Private Islands for Sale, 2012
No man is an island, wrote poet John Donne.
No man is an island, wrote poet John Donne. But what man -- or woman -- hasn’t dreamed of owning one?
The allure of owning an island recently captured the imagination of one well-known billionaire. In June, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle and the third-richest American, bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai in a deal valued at more than $500 million. With a population of 3,000 people, Lanai isn’t exactly a private retreat. But this shouldn’t be a problem for Ellison, who owns properties in Malibu, Lake Tahoe, Newport, R.I., and Kyoto, Japan, among other locales.
While Ellison’s purchase might be an extravagant example, island ownership is a real estate niche all its own. Long the province of the well-heeled, the market took a big hit in the housing collapse. Prices have bottomed out, and islands that were once overvalued have dropped to more affordable levels, according to Chris Krolow, CEO of Private Islands Inc.
The idea of buying your own island may be enticing, but don’t kid yourself. This is a luxury, not an investment. Expect to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars beyond the asking price to build on an undeveloped property and years trying to get the appropriate permits. You can get an island with all the amenities already built, but many customers in this high-end market want to put their own mark on it, according to Farhad Vladi, president of Vladi Private Islands.
Whether buying a private island is a real possibility or a far-flung dream, check out these ten islands currently for sale, ranging from just $295,000 to $1.45 million.
Location: Caribbean Sea south of Monkey Point, Nicaragua
Asking Price: $560,000
Acreage: 2.5 acres
Covered with coconut trees, this private retreat includes a two-bedroom house with an electric generator, a water system, and satellite phone and Internet service. Located a mere 200 yards from the mainland near the town of Bluefields, the island has a white-sand beach, and the area is known for great bird watching, fishing and scuba diving.
Little Ironsides Island
Location: Thousand Islands, St. Lawrence River, New York
Asking Price: $975,000
Acreage: 1.3 acres
A three-bedroom house, which has an updated kitchen and a huge stone fireplace, and two additional cottages provide sleeping accommodations for up to 11 people. A 15-minute boat ride from Alexandria Bay, the property includes a pool and a 375-square-foot floating dock.
Middle Hardwood Island
Location: Jonesport, Maine
Asking Price: $1.45 million
Acreage: 7 acres
This compound, about 50 miles east of Acadia National Park in the region known as Down East Maine, has three cottages connected by wooden walkways, with sweeping views of the surrounding bay. In addition to well water, a solar power plant and a septic tank, the island also has its own sandy beach and boat dock.
Location: Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
Asking Price: $900,363
Acreage: 50 acres
Mahone Bay is regarded as one of the best places to sail on Canada’s Atlantic coast. An hour’s drive from Halifax international airport, the bay offers a mix of working fishing villages and expensive villas. This island is a short sail away from the Mahone Bay Yacht Club. It’s a big island, with a long, sandy beach and a log home that has electricity, well water and a septic tank.
Location: Off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina
Asking Price: $995,000
Acreage: 47 acres
Located between Kiawah Island, host of the 2012 PGA Championship, and Folly Beach, this 1.5-mile-long island consists of seven acres of high ground and 42 acres of marsh. A two-bedroom house on stilts is designed to sleep seven. With a deep-water dock, the island is a five-minute boat ride from the mainland.
Location: Newport, Oregon
Asking Price: $1.25 million
Acreage: 5.75 acres
Located on the Yaquina River six miles from the Pacific Ocean, the island has a five-bedroom house with an updated kitchen, a large deck with a fire pit, and a boat dock. It's less than a two-hour drive from the municipal airport in Corvallis, Ore.
Location: Chiriqui, near the town of David, Panama
Asking Price: $899,000
Acreage: 25 acres
This secluded retreat is in the middle of the Chiriqui Marine Sanctuary, 12 miles off the western coast of Panama and 30 minutes from the country’s second-largest city. A 1,300-foot beach on the south side of the island faces a large lagoon that was once a haven for pirates. White-faced and howler monkeys, toucans, and parrots live in the nearby forest. Five underground wells have been drilled and are ready for development.
Location: Wangumbaug Lake, Northeastern Connecticut
Asking Price: $295,000
Acreage: 2 acres
A two-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City, this island is only 100 yards from shore, a mile from a state-owned boat launch, and comes with a recently renovated home. The island also comes with a 5,000-square-foot lot on shore.
Ile de la Baie Bertrand
Location: Quebec, Canada
Asking Price: $1.3 million
Acreage: 4.1 acres
This island, located near the southern end of 31-Mile Lake, is an hour-and-a-half drive from the Ottawa airport. Solar power panels and a propane backup generator power the four-bedroom main house and an extra two-bedroom house. Wi-Fi via a satellite Internet connection completes the picture. The dwellings are set back from the water, with a lawn leading to a private beach. Along with an herb-and-vegetable garden, there’s a boathouse and even a cedar treehouse. Situated in the lake-filled Gatineau region of Quebec, the houses are insulated for winter use.
Location: Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
Asking Price: $800,000
Acreage: 75 acres
Starlings Island is 400 feet away from the mainland and the quiet fishing village of Saxis, Va. Roughly equidistant from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Md., and Wilmington, Del., the island has expansive views of the marsh and bay.